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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 January 2017

NHS in meltdown

The Red Cross has declared a

The Red Cross has declared a "humanitarian crisis" in the NHS   (Click to enlarge)

Alison Hill

Hospitals are under massive pressure. What shall we do? Let's build more hospitals, train and employ more medical staff, devote more resources to providing a good service...

Or not. If you're a government minister or fat cat health bureaucrat, let's just blame the patients for turning up to A&E. No wonder people are dying in corridors.

A&E departments aren't meeting their targets - let's just change the targets.

Let's attack the Red Cross for exposing the "humanitarian crisis" which the Tory government and its rich backers are presiding over.

Theresa May and health secretary Jeremy Hunt squirm and try to lie themselves out of the blame for this crisis.

Yet Hunt has blurted out that, for years, funds have been siphoned out of areas like mental health treatment to prop up the rest of the collapsing NHS. But the best that Labour can do is to accuse the Tories of being in "la la land" and tell them to "get a grip".

Avalanche

The avalanche of privatisation is clear. If you need a test or a scan these days, you're often sent to a private centre - usually an anonymous office block which someone has rented out, probably with grants to buy the equipment. It's a licence to print money, getting shed-loads of cash off the NHS and private patients. Where big business can make an easy profit, it will.

Let's take all those facilities back into the NHS. Let's scrap all rip-off PFI privatisation schemes and cancel all the health trusts' 'debts'. Why should we waste resources paying, for decades, multinational construction firms for building or running our hospitals?

Then we can expand the NHS to take full advantage of the latest developments in medical science. We can pay all NHS staff a decent wage. We can devote the resources needed to provide healthcare outside hospitals.

More importantly, we can run the NHS democratically for the benefit of us all, not for the profits of big business.

Let's get rid of the humanitarian crisis by having a humanitarian revolution! We need a bit more than "get a grip" - we need a socialist programme to transform the NHS.

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In The Socialist 11 January 2017:


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